My friend sent me this link on an article of a former hairstylist Leila Cohoon who had an obsession with collecting hair art. She ended up turning her cosmetology school into a school/museum. Now I want to take a trip out to her museum just to see her what seems to be an amazing collection. Hair art was popularized by Queen Victoria who after the death of her husband Prince Albert back in 1861. Queen Victoria wore a piece of jewelry with Prince Alberts hair up to the end of her days. She also had elaborate jewelry designed out of jet that was considered to be mourning jewelry. In fact there was stages of ones mourning. After a loved one would pass clippings of the hair would be tightly woven and placed in a glass like pendant with a brass backing many times in which would be engraved with the name of the deceased and the date of death. Hair was also tightly woven and turned into braceletes, ringes and also woven into wreathes and framed. Photos of the deceased and a locket of their hair was also a common thing to do. I have seen some amazing art out of hair. Some think it is a bit creepy. I on the other hand think of it as an enduring expression of love and respect.
I recently turned a locket of hair that I have into a necklace. I have two nice size brooches from the 1800's in which I was trying to find a way to drill through without jeopardizing the integrity of the piece. With the help of a friend he managed to drill without damaging the piece. It is engraved with the names of the deceased in which case are husband and wife and the dates of death. I think of it as a romantic gesture of remborance. The names are Harvey Mead June 22, 1858 and Abbie Mead August 27, 1858. Some cringe at the thought of wearing a locket of a dead persons hair. I guess I find it enduring. I have been on the hunt for more lockets like this. I have a small collection of mourning pins but the hair is what I would like to work more with. I have found a few people who can make the lockets for me so that I can add either someone's child's locks from their first haircut or locks from a loved one who passed. I have been experimenting with resin trying to do make a mold that will encase the woven lock of hair. Ashes as well! Anyhoo... here is my completed up-cycled piece I recently did of Mr. and Mrs. Meads hair. I call it "Woven Mead". It will be up for display today at the Handmade Brigade Block Party Indie Craft Show in Downtown Santa Ana. I really don't want to part with it for it is my favorite piece of hair art that I have..I find it extremely romantic that both Mr. and Mrs. Mead rest intertwined together under a thin sheet of glass.